Dog recovering after being set afire

The dog that was severely burned over the weekend is recovering well and has an excellent prognosis, Dr. Brenda Bush of Island Veterinary Services said Tuesday. The dog, named Dora, was brought to the veterinarian Saturday after suffering second- and third-degree burns on her flank and abdomen.

“She’s a brave little dog. She’s recovering really well,” said Dr. Bush. “She is very sweet. Even with the pain of that kind of injury, she’s letting us care for her. She’s just a very grateful little dog.”

The dog, which was allegedly set ablaze by its owner, was brought to Dr. Bush several hours after the incident and was immediately cared for via emergency surgical procedure. The dog had been pregnant, and Dr. Bush had to remove her uterus due to complications from dealing with the shock of the burns.

The wounds were likely life-threatening had they not been treated, but Dr. Bush said it was hard to speculate as to what exactly would have happened had the animal not received medical care.

“It’s hard to say,” she said on Tuesday morning. “A lot of dogs have amazing ability to heal even very traumatic wounds. She was at extreme high risk of dying from sepsis or bacterial invasion of those wounds. But I think more immediately, because her abdominal cavity was in such shock and reactivity from the burns, that would probably have killed her had she not had abdominal surgery.”

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said they are investigating the incident.

The police issued a statement on Tuesday that read: “On Saturday, May 13, police received a report of animal cruelty at a residential address in North Side where a dog had allegedly been set afire. Officers responded to the location and gathered information from those in the area, but the dog could not be located. Personnel from the Cayman Islands’ Humane Society also arrived and searched for the dog.

“Several hours later that day the animal was located and police were informed that the dog had been badly burned but was alive and being treated.”

Dr. Bush said Tuesday she has not yet spoken to the police, and she also said that normal procedure usually entails investigators visiting the clinic to check in on the animal and make a report. Island Veterinary Services originally believed it had treated this dog before, but that does not appear to be the case.

“I’m thinking that isn’t correct,” said Dr. Bush. “We had a dog for this owner called Dora listed and the dog would’ve been five years old when we treated it two years ago. The dog that came in that’s now called Dora is a young dog. She’s probably one, not over two years old. We really don’t think it’s the same dog now. Some owners do have a habit of using the same name for a lot of dogs that they get.

“At the time of the emergency, we really didn’t deal with that information, so we need to backtrack and try to see what the owner says as far as the age of the dog. But I don’t think we’d seen this dog before.”

The Cayman Islands Humane Society has repeatedly declined comment in order to allow the police to make progress in their investigation.

Dr. Bush said she is not sure what would happen when she was asked if the dog would be discharged to her previous owner.

“That is under investigation right now,” she said. “It would definitely depend on the information that the police is given or the animal welfare officer, hopefully, will get involved to make that decision. I guess it depends on the circumstances on the burns and how they happened and who was involved.”

Police ask that anyone with information about the case call the George Town Police Station at 949-4222, or leave anonymous tips at 949-7777 or via Crime Stoppers at 800-8477(TIPS).

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